How to Make Blessing Bags for the Homeless
While driving around Hampton Roads, we pass by homeless people holding signs, asking for help each day. While we don't always carry cash—or perhaps aren't comfortable with handing money to strangers—there's still an easy way that we can help.
Mariah Smith, founder of local nonprofit organization Blankets for the Homeless, suggests this beneficial way to immediately bless someone. They're called Blessing Bags—paper bags filled with non-perishable food and other necessities, that can be passed out to people in need. Here's how to make your own blessing bags to keep in your car:
1. Grab a stack of paper lunch bags and, with a marker, write a blessing of your choice on the bag—whatever message you feel would be encouraging.
2. Fill the bags with non-perishable lunches, water bottles, toiletries and small, seasonal items of clothing. (See below for suggested items.)
3. Keep the bags in your car—in the front seat or front floorboard if you're able, so that they'll be easily accessible when you need to quickly grab one.
4. Hand to someone in need. Don't forget to smile; smiles are always free and can have a tremendous impact on someone's day.
Suggested Non-Perishable Foods:
Cans of vienna sausages*
Tuna lunches to-go (packs containing sealed, bagged tuna, mayo and crackers)
Packs of nuts and dried fruit
Fruit or applesauce cups
Bags of chips or cookies
Always include a bottle of water that they can refill, a napkin and a fork or spoon.
*With any canned foods, be sure to choose the pop-lids and not the kind that requires a can opener.
Personal Hygiene Items*
Hotel or travel-sized soap, lotion, shampoo and conditioner
Non-alcohol hand sanitizer
Pack of tissues
Mints or gum
*When including personal hygiene items, it's best to package these items in a ziplock bag to prevent any food items from smelling/tasting like soap.